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Welcome to TWB Arts Blog!

Manchester is a bustling metropolis that is teeming with energy. However, it can get a bit overwhelming. That is why it is vital that you step back from time to time.

This blog lets you do just that. It gives readers the opportunity to explore one of the best hobbies around: crafting.

Arts and Crafts in Texas

Tips for Using Cricut for Arts and Crafts with Kids

The Cricut Machine has quickly risen to prominence as one of the go-to sources for DIY arts and crafts.  It’s a remarkable little machine that makes things like DIY stickers, vinyl decals, paper crafts, the skies the limit really.  We’ve been using it for years, and it’s now evolved to be even cooler than when we started.  The latest model is the Cricut Explore Air 2, which we’ll be talking about in this post.

What is a Cricut Machine?

If you aren’t families with Cricut, it’s a family of machines that are technically defined as Die Cutting Machines (also sometimes referred to as plotter cutters, craft cutter or simply cutting machine).

Think of it like a printer, except instead of putting ink to paper, it cuts the material based on the shapes in the document.  It’s fully digital and connects to computers just like a printer would.  In fact, if you use the marker accessory, it will draw instead of cut, effectively making it a printer!

How Can we Use it With Kids?

Really, the only limit is your imagination.  If you can think of something that should be cut out, you can skip the scissors and leverage the cricut to do it.  So let’s go over a few items that will hopefully spark your interest and imagination, and you can take it from there!

  • Custom Greeting Cards – One great way to use the Cricut is to make fancy and 3D greeting cards.  One parent could help the kid make one for the other parents birthday (or a sibling, teacher, or friend).  It could also be used to make your yearly Christmas/Holiday cards!
  • Custom T-Shirts! – Yes, you read that right! With heat transfer vinyl prints you can make yourself a custom T-Shirt!  Think how cool it would be to make a T-Shirt that has an inside joke with your family, or a picture from a family occasion or trip.  Use your imagination!
  • Wall Decals – You can decorate a room with custom decals.  Sticky decals are a great thing to buy and use for decorating a room, but you can create your own and add you own flare and style to it.  Again this would be great for inside jokes, special and meaningful items, or your favorite shapes and figures that aren’t available commercially.
  • Christmas Ornaments! – Now how cool is this.  In our family we get a new Christmas ornament every year to commemorate the year.  It can be hard to track down new ones and unique ones, since mass produced Christmas ornaments are kind of similar.  With cricut we can make our own!

So you get the idea, there really isn’t a limit to what you can do once you realize the capabilities of the Cricut.

How Can I get a Cricut and Which One Should I Choose?

Cricuts are available via Amazon (just like everything else in the world, ha!).  As far is which one you should choose, it comes down to your preferences.  We use the Cricut Explore Air 2, which is the most up to date model as of this writing.  However there are numerous different models with different applications.  Try to consult some guides (such as this one that that breaks down the best cricut machines for different applications) and make your decision from there.

Kids Party Ideas for the Creative Mom

Kids love parties, they look forward to the big days all year, i.e. their birthday!  If you are a mom (or dad) you can find this to either be intimidating and burdensome, OR you can look at it as an opportunity to be fun and creative.  In order to help you make this process a little more fun and less intimidating, we’ve listed a few bright ideas for how to approach planning a party for your lovable little one..

Let’s go!

Kid’s Bounce Houses

Kids Bounce House

This might be a common occurrence in your neighborhood (I know it is in mine), and it’s for good reason.  A bounce house is a really fun way to get a party going and it will attract lots of neighborhood kids and friends, and most importantly, give them something to do for a while that will tire them out.

Just remember to always have safety in mind, make sure that an adult keeps an eye on the kids at all time.  Since kids are jumping up and down, theres always a chance for a bump on the head or a turned ankle, so brace yourself for that.  Generally you should be fine, however.  We’ve used a local house Party bus company for our party, it was relatively inexpensive, and our experience was very positive.

As an important side note, there has been some concern (and news stories) over the recent years about the safety of bounce houses.  There has been spectacle about bounce houses that have deflated while in use, or even flown through the air.  We decided to reach out to an expert and get their views on this topic.

John from Bounce House Rentals New Jersey gave us his input as a veteran owner of a bounce house company for over 2o years:

“Safety isn’t only our main concern, it’s essentially our only concern.  If kids are safe, everyone is happy.  We go through regular inspections, cleanings, and safety trainings.  New Jersey is very strict on regulations for inspections, reporting of any injuries and issues, and we are happy about that! We think all companies in our sector should be held to the highest standards.”

Kid’s Party Bus

Kids Party Bus

If you’ve got really little ones (4-8 years old) or even if you’ve got tweeners (11-13 years old) you can make a great time by renting yourself a party bus.  We’ve used Houston Party Bus in the past and it was great for us.  For the kids party buses, they have games and all types of cool stuff for the kids to do.  For the more adult buses they have music, video and lights.  You can fill up the food section with soda, water, and snacks, and make as many stops as you like.  This is a great addition to a field trip party as well (such as going to a sporting event, arcade/pizza party/etc).

Theme Parties

Kids don’t need expensive rentals or machines to have a good time.  Throw some pizza and sugar at them and unleash them in a backyard and that’s probably all that’s needed.  So one way to give this a little more structure is to create a theme party!

You can get kind of goofy with these themes.  As an example, my nephews 3rd birthday party was a Dinosaur + Cowboy party.  You can do that kind of mix and match to get a very unique take and will be sure to heighten the interests of the kids attending.

They don’t always have to be mix and match, but it creates so many ideas that you should consider it.  Here are some themes that could be used, and feel free to pick 2 and run with it! (Obviously if its for a kid then she should have some input as well):

  • Cotton Candy Party
  • Cupcake Party
  • Dinosaur Party
  • Cowboy Party
  • Pizza Party
  • Paw Patrol Party
  • Ice Cream Party
  • Wiffle ball/Baseball Party
  • Basketball Party
  • Barbecue Party

Mix and match and see what you come up with!  Could be a Basketball + Cupcake Party.  Or how about a Paw Patrol + Pizza Party.  Cotton Candy + Cowboy theme.  Or many a Baseball + Barbecue Party.

Not bad, right?

That’s what we’ve got right now, we’ll be back with some additional items in the near future. Hold tight!

Maximizing Your Storage Space

Storage space is vital to any home. This is a handy guide to help you make the most of what you have and more.

Maximize Vertical Space

Limited floor space is one of the greatest problems people have especially when living in an apartment or condo. Luckily, you can circumvent this problem by making the most of your vertical space. This is easy enough to do, just install a simple set of brackets, put in a piece of plywood, and you instantly have more space to put your stuff in.

It is worth noting here that this can be used for open living areas as well as for optimizing closet space.

Customize your Furniture

Putting in more storage under your furniture is one of the greatest organizational tricks in the book. Doing so is extremely easy and you should definitely give it a try. The last thing you want is to be intimidated by the endeavour. Instead, just take it in stride and do not hesitate to pick some of your stuff apart. The end result is definitely satisfying.

So, what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favour and give it a try.

DIY Tips to Revitalize your Bathroom

Your bathroom is an integral part of your home that deserves some love. So, here are a couple of tips to help you do just that.

Get rid of the clutter

This is an extremely simple yet indispensable step. Better yet, it is completely free! As you probably know, waste can sneak up on you. For bathrooms, the most prominent source of clutter is probably those bottles of skin and hair products you’ve accumulated over the years. Sort through them and get rid of the ones you are no longer using!

Introduce Fresh Scents

This is another cheap and easy way to refresh your bathroom. It is vital that you keep your bathroom smelling great. That being said, there is a wide array of scents to choose from. However, if we are to make a suggestion, we recommend that you make the scent appropriate for the season.

Reorganize

The bathroom is basically similar to any other part of your house. This means that it should follow a specific theme if you want it to look great. That being said, you always have the choice to switch it up a bit from time to time.

Do not be afraid to experiment when it comes to your bathroom. The possibilities are virtually endless.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh-bzgePL9E

Featured Video

Check out these great products you can pick up at the Heart of Texas Arts and Crafts Shows. This video was shot at the Waxahachie Show in November 2011.